Software as a service is nothing new. It’s a business model that has helped industries worldwide flourish— streamlining processes, providing data insights, and so much more. Yet, how has the SaaS movement progressed the hospitality industry, and how will it continue to do so in the coming years?
In this article, we’ll focus on how the SaaS industry has helped the hospitality sector and explore how hospitality will continue to grow as a data-centric business model alongside niche SaaS products.
7 transformations SaaS marketing has brought the hospitality industry
1. Creating smoother operations
Operations in the hospitality industry have always been tricky, and a struggle to manage at the best of times. Travel agents have often had a hard time locking down the availability of destinations in real-time without having to call the destination provider.
SaaS business models like a global distribution system have drastically improved booking processes, without a hotel having to grant access or share sensitive data.
Operations have gotten even smoother through this particular SaaS initiative, agents are now able to book a traveler’s complete experience; from hotel and airfares to road transport and tours. This hotel channel manager will continue to go from strength to strength as hospitality businesses worldwide have greater access to clients and vise versa.
2. Empowering smaller businesses
SaaS models have eradicated the need for small businesses to hire specialized talent in certain areas. Many hospitality businesses struggle with growth in their earliest years. It’s a permanent juggle between operations, marketing, and sales campaigns— it can get overwhelming.
However, SaaS has swept in to save the day and empowered small travel business owners to take initiatives into their own hands— and do it with ease.
Gone are the days when hotel business owners needed to rely on third-party booking platforms to sell their accommodation. Now, the hospitality industry can have full control over their booking engines, if they want. Business owners can build a vacation rental website using smart SaaS platforms that don’t require a ton of specialized coding talent to make something operationally viable and beautiful for customers to use.
These vacation rental websites give a hospitality business the longevity they need to start investing in their website— and company —authority. Rather than sending paid advertising efforts to booking giants like booking.com or Airbnb, they can drive traffic to their own site.
This “owned” traffic will give great insights into campaign success, customer interactions, and will allow them to adjust sales campaigns in the future with more data-orientated mindsets.
3. Identifying and reducing churn
Reducing customer churn is not something that only SaaS companies need to analyze. Its something they’ve identified they need to focus on, and we’re beginning to see SaaS tools to help other industries identify churn data that they can take action on.
The SaaS movement is entirely transforming the way the hospitality industry is handling customer retention. Smart tools and data points are now allowing hospitality businesses to run a churn analysis and identify when and why customers are leaving them in repeat bookings.
After identifying the whens and the whys, hospitality businesses can initiate retention tactics to change their metrics and create a more successful business with returning customers. Churn analysis and tools to help conduct one are proving to be an invaluable resource in the hospitality world.
It’s fantastic to see so many hospitality businesses focussing on retention via good customer service, communications, and referral tactics.
4. Data-driven decisions
SaaS platforms are beginning to specialize in the hospitality sector to deliver data specific to that industry. Now hospitality businesses can monitor hotel occupation, alongside customer satisfaction, and all in one hospitality dashboard.
This new way of processing and reading data will allow hospitality businesses to get customer insights and predict trends, become more customer-centric by optimizing feedback, and give a competitive edge by keeping an eye on the competition growth rates.
SaaS products like this can also collect all of your hospitality KPIs in one place, giving teams and managers a clear overview of their performance. Maintain one source of truth, and monitor your hotel’s performance in a user-friendly system.
5. Automate in-house processes
Automation is key to any good SaaS platform. We’re beginning to see more and more innovative technology that makes the customer experience that much smoother while saving hotels money. For example, fingerprint technology became a trend within the hospitality sector, pre-crisis.
This technology enabled customers to move about the hotel securely, and even pay for their goods in the hotel cafe or restaurant without needing cash or card.
This technology allows hospitality to save money on staffing and gives them insights into their customers’ buying habits. Businesses can note trends and buying patterns and begin to adapt their services to provide a more personalized experience for customers in the future.
However, it doesn’t need to stop at cost-saving technologies to aid business operations. SaaS models are emerging to lift customer experience as well. Businesses today are looking at acquiring customers, but they’re also exploring innovative ways to retain them.
Hospitality is now looking to unique experiences, with staff service, location, decor, f&b, and new technology.
Products like Ambie are becoming a home run with hospitality businesses and customers alike. Using smart technology, Ambie curates a unique soundtrack for every space, a soundtrack that’s unique and creates the ambiance you want.
What’s more, this tool can be managed from a mobile app, anywhere in the world. No more selecting random Spotify playlists, or needing to plug something into a sound system.
All of these in-house processes are becoming more and more popular within the hospitality industry. We’ll only see more unique SaaS products launching in the future to continue to provide a personalized, engaging experience for customers— backed up with data.
6. Faster recruiting processes
Recruitment has always been a struggle, especially in an industry where seasonality is so apparent. The hospitality industry has to hire fast and sometimes in enormous quantities to cope with tourism demands.
However, in most cases, it’s almost impossible to organize such a large quantity of interviews in a short timespan and in-person— it’s a logistical nightmare.
SaaS tools are growing to help recruitment processes across the globe. Zoom possibly being the most famous tool now being used to host remote interviews, but the movement doesn’t stop there. There are more in-depth tools to manage candidate profiles, application progress, and even ensure onboarding is as smooth as possible.
7. Mobile-first businesses
SaaS has often consisted of tools designed specifically for desktop use. However, we can’t all be at our desktops at all times— especially when managing hospitality service.
A hospitality manager needs to have a flexible skill set and will need to manage operations as much as she or he handles customer complaints at the front desk. Managers are forever on the go, which means they need technology that can come along for the ride.
SaaS products designed for mobile-first use are making a manager’s role more flexible, ensuring they have access to the data and information they need whenever they need it.
These products make the hospitality industry more responsive and attentive to the customer or business needs, moving processes along faster. Plus, smart dashboards and digital workspaces ensure entire teams stay up to date with each other, no matter where they are.
Wrapping up SaaS marketing trends for the hospitality industry
Earlier adopters of Saas platforms in hospitality have seen its positive effect on their business already. Tools are either tailored to hospitality needs or designed for the hospitality industry from the start.
The crisis of 2020 will see the hospitality industry in recovery mode for many more years to come. However, it doesn’t mean that hospitality is over— it just needs to be done differently.
SaaS companies will begin to emerge that are specifically designed to meet the hospitality manager’s needs, and it will be the new normal. We’ll start to see tools that are more conscious of the health and wellbeing of customers and staff alike.
We should also begin to see tools that are readily able to handle crises, should something similar happen again, and a business needs to act fast.
In all, the Saas movement has drastically helped to shift the hospitality industry into a more responsive and data-driven world. Whereas so far, it’s largely helped with processes, operations, and sales; in the future, it will begin to help with a crisis, people power, and retention to ensure a safer and more enjoyable space.